Toonz Media Group, 25 years of solid and growing work in Animation

The company is now a creator, producer, and distributor of premium content for kids and families. Its CEO P Jayakumar reviews the evolution of the company.

10 JUN 2024

P Jayakumar

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Toonz Animation, India’s homegrown global animation company, completes 25 years. It was one of the first animation firms in India, and now it has a solid position as a creator, producer, and distributor of premium content for kids and families. Furthermore, it has started feature film division that is involved in a full spectrum of activities related to live-action and feature films.

In the 1990s, entrepreneur G.A. Menon, who was already a big name in the electronics industry, came across an article in the Los Angeles Times about works related to the software industry, especially animation, moving to more cost-effective locations in Asia and elsewhere. Soon, he pitched the idea with the Comcraft Group to start an animation company in Thiruvananthapuram in India’s Kerala state, with Bill Dennis, a long-time Disney executive, as a co-founder. Thus was set up Toonz Animation India Limited, one of the first animation companies in the country, which has now completed 25 years of operations, during which it has grown across the globe as a creator, producer, and distributor of premium content for children.

“It was something totally new for Kerala. In the initial days, one of our most critical challenges was to train the people to execute projects with international production values. We brought in around 75 expert animators from countries such as the Philippines, Singapore, and Australia. For five years, they stayed at the studio, worked and trained people. We also launched an event, which later became the Animation Masters Summit, and brought in well-known names in the industry, to give a platform for Indian animators to interact and learn from them. Our first customer was the Cartoon Network for a show called 'Get Tooned'. Initially, everything was hand drawn, scanned and painted, taking hours to make even a small show,” says P. Jayakumar, who has been the Chief Executive Officer of Toonz Media Group for the past two decades.

In 2002, to address the shortage of resources, the company started an animation training academy, with a large number of the trainees getting absorbed into the company. The success of the academy led to invitations from the governments of other states as well as the Bhutanese government to set up academies there, which the company did.

The same year, the company forayed into creating original content with "The Adventures of Tenali Rama", the first animated television series made in India, which was aired on Cartoon Network. Until then, the channel was showing only American content. "It was a milestone, which heralded the arrival of the domestic animation industry, which is currently thriving," said Jayakumar. Soon, the company also worked on India’s first fully animated feature film "Hanuman", which proved to be a success.

Internationally, the first major breakthrough was "Finley the Fire Engine", a CGI-animated children’s television series, made for the Hallmark group, that got picked by BBC and was sold all over the globe.


In 2014, Toonz made its first acquisition, that of Spanish animation production house Imira Entertainment. This was followed by the acquisition of the multi-Emmy award-winning Irish studio Telegael, which has large live action facilities. Toonz also established a production unit in New Zealand as well as set up offices in London, Los Angeles, and Istanbul. Chotoonz TV, Toonz’s flagship global YouTube channel for kids, also gained millions of subscribers.

In 2023, Toonz announced the launch of its feature film division which is involved in a full spectrum of activities within the group, on its in-house created content, as well as titles from other partners and third party productions."Toonz is already involved in animated feature film productions including 'The Canterville Ghost’, which is the animated adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic of the same name," affirmed Toonz CEO.